If you suffered a serious back injury at work and now you have pain with certain movements, your doctor may determine that fusing the vertebrae will bring you relief and allow you to function again. The idea of fusing together bones in the spine seems as if it would limit mobility, though.
Will you be able to go back to work if you have this treatment?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, most people do not suffer much loss of mobility after a spinal fusion procedure. However, it depends on where the problem site is and other individual factors. The surgeon can typically forecast whether there will be limitations.
While the bones fuse together, immobility is critical. Surgeons often insert rods, plates and screws at the site to keep the bones in place, but you will probably also have to wear a brace. It could take several months for the fusion to be complete. About six weeks to three months after the surgery, most patients start physical therapy. Recovery typically takes several months of slowly increasing activity levels.
You do not have to wait until you have reached your maximum level of improvement to do something about returning to work. North Carolina workers’ compensation law says that you can ask your employer about vocational rehabilitation services, which are workers’ compensation benefits. You may train for a job in your company or receive education and training for a new type of employment that suits your abilities.
Perhaps your spinal fusion surgery will be career-ending, but a new career path may be opening up for you that has even more potential. Reach out to us for a free consultation on vocational rehabilitation for more information.